Last weekend I got the opportunity to go to Video Games Live, which amazingly came to Madison to play. My roommate bought me two tickets to the show knowing that I would love going as a gift for paying for most everything over the last year or two. It turned out that I had my daughter the weekend of the concert, so instead of taking my roommate as usual, I took my daughter. I think that actually worked well because I think my daughter appreciated it more than my roommate would have.
The first thing that I’d have to say is attendance. This show did not sell well, and I can’t imagine it ever coming back to Madison. Heck, this show actually proved to me why Madison has such a hard time attracting these types of events. There were probably only between 500 or 600 people there. I think it is unfortunate too because I feel this sort of show would resonate well with Madison. It is a hip and techie city, with a couple game development studios, as well as a games & learning program at the UW. I think it is a perfect town for this. The unfortunate part is that they did very little advertising, I only saw commercials the week of and only a couple. Honestly, had my roommate not bought the tickets for me, I very well may never have known myself that this had come to town even though I had always wanted to go.
The concert was actually pretty interesting in how they put it up. They got the Madison Pops (or chamber orchestra, they seemed confused by this) and local singers for the choir. So really the only people who do the travelling is Tommy Tallarico, the conductor, the link flutist, and probably a dozen or two production crew. This means it is probably a fairly cheap show to put on, but it also means that Tommy is supporting local music programs which I very much liked. I did question at times whether they were providing all of the music or had a backdrop of professionally recorded music, but overall I think they did very well considering this isn’t their full time gig.
The show itself had a very wide array of video game music, leaning towards classic series more than modern, but it did have modern interspersed. They also broke the music with funny videos, game play segments (people coming on stage to play games for the crowd like Guitar Hero), and game inspired skits (like the link flutist or a skit with a thug with a gun while Solid Snake goes across the stage in a box). The show had a great variety and changed it up enough so that you wouldn’t get bored by just listening to the music. It was very well thought out.
My favorite part of the event was really the Megaman music that headed up the show. Megaman always had a really solid music score for the 8-bit generation and it was a pretty rockin way to start. It is also a series that isn’t exactly mainstream anymore so I was more than a little happy to see it. My daughter’s favorite part was oddly not music at all, but the Sonic vs. Pac-Man video that they showed, her favorite music was probably the Sonic music.